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Sermon for the First Sunday of Trinity

3rd Jun 2018


Sermon for the First Sunday of Trinity Year B

“The Sabbath was made for Man and not Man for the Sabbath” Mark 2.27


When Jesus heals the man with the withered arm on the Jewish Sabbath all hell was let loose!

 

Sabbath made for Man, not Man the Sabbath.

 

Sabbath as Day of Rest, Special Day, Quiet day. A challenge to the Pharisees and the old Law. A scandal.

 

40 Years ago on Sundays in Plymouth. Going to church and a dead quiet city centre: Sunday lunch and Sunday tea… It was definitively a religious day.

 

A change took place in the 1980s and he commercial interest held sway as did the call to liberate the traditional Sunday from the  quietness and rest and substitute this for all shops open and the opportunity to grow what became known as ‘leisure opportunities’. Someone said that shopping malls would become the new consumer cathedrals.

 

This presented a challenge to churches in the rise of what we might call the overriding secular interest and the demand for its greater freedom of choice. It could easily be viewed negatively and in a reactionary way and this would be understandable. But on the other hand this movement toward busy and open Sundays was a challenge to see churches and the Sabbath o Sunday in a new and challenging light.

 

Parish – Ancient area of ecclesiastical influence and jurisdiction becomes:

 

Parish – Area of compassionate care for those living within the parish boundaries (and even beyond them) and particularly at the weekend - a time not covered by many social agencies, and many very needy people, including the homeless and the destitute and the elderly, being left at this time to fend for themselves at lonely and barely serving weekends.

 

Jesus has come as the old saying has it ‘to disturb the complacent’ and it is in this light that he has come to disturb our own church. Holy cross is our name and we should, when we meet a situation of acute challenge not be afraid to embrace the reality as a Cross to bear and a Cross to win.

In the planning for our crypt space here at Holy Cross Church we will seek to remain true to our old remit to care for our local poor at the point of need :

 

I imagine that our space downstairs will beckon a strong ‘weekend’ ministry and that Holy Cross Church will be embarked upon a truly ‘Sabbath Christianity’ in which Sundays will place a particular part in our missionary vision.

 

Our Holy Cross  vision – that our church be a beacon of light not only in the Christian, religious sense, but in the sense of how our worshipful and praying life gives way to our active concern and active support of those who need Christ’s love, like the man with the withered hand, healed on the Sabbath by a loving Saviour. We are being called to a church turned inside out: that the beauties and consolations of our worshipping life in this place may be mirrored in our active concern for those beyond these walls who are so desperately in need of Christ’s Sabbath love. The forward movement is the one in which, by God’s will, the local church is transformed as it welcomes meets and includes those who would otherwise be locked out from the Sabbath enclosure